What does it mean to have a wanderlust spirit?
People envy all of the places I travel to, how “brave” I am to do it alone, and the time and money I have to do so. However, at times, I envy those that don’t have a yearning to constantly travel to new places. Those that are able to settle down and enjoy life, without traveling hundreds of miles.
Before wanting the life of a wanderer, let me describe what it feels like to have a wanderlust spirit.
I haven’t always had the desire to travel. Growing up in Indiana, I really didn’t understand what I was missing out on. We often found ourselves on sunny beaches, sipping non-alcoholic daiquiris, during vacation. Especially after being bundled up through a long cold winter. Don’t get me wrong, I had a wonderful life in Indiana, with the best mother in the world, an equally awesome sister, spectacular family and friends, and the only man in my life/my canine best friend, Kadin. However, it’s no surprise my wanderlust spirit lay dormant for so long.
Shortly after becoming a nurse, I found myself living the beach life in Florida; the only other life I knew existed. The idea that life would be a vacation everyday, was quite naive. I soon realized, I really didn’t like hot and humid summer days, followed by hot, still humid, rainy winter days. It wasn’t like going on vacation, with a beach front condo, and the soothing sound of ocean waves putting you to sleep at night. I knew that Florida was not my dream place, so I moved on. My wanderlust spirit didn’t exist until after my beach days; when I became a travel nurse.
As a travel nurse, moving to an unfamiliar city with unfamiliar people, I found all of the touristy things to do to keep myself busy. This left me wanting to see more, do more and experience more. Traveling, soon became my wanderlust spirit’s drug of choice.
Every work week seems longer and longer, and the weekends feel so short. On Mondays, I am already counting down the hours until my weekend begins. Internet searches for the best hikes, the top waterfalls, the most surreal places, consume almost every free minute I have. All of which, have only made my wanderlust spirit’s hunger for travel, grow stronger. Now, it isn’t only about seeing new things; it’s about the experience that I gain from my travels.
Traveling now, is about the experience; the excitement and struggle that it took to see the Narrows in Zion National Park, when no one else is crazy enough to go through freezing knee deep water in yoga pants and tennis shoes; the rush of waking up at 430 am, after a few hours of rest, sprawled out across my trunk and back seat, to start a long hike before the sunrise; the misery of incline hiking, without proper backpacking equipment, and camping next to an ice field (even though I had never put up a tent before). In a sense, it is all about the adrenaline rush, from the entire experience, not just the traveling. Knowing that not many others can conquer what I set forth to do, in the conditions which I do them. Some call this stupidity; I call it living life. Having a wanderlust spirit may sound very exciting, and it is, but it is also very exhausting.
Exhausting may be an understatement. I barely get more than 4-5 hours of sleep a night, on the weekends. I am physically exhausted from the miles of hiking. I am mentally exhausted from planning, preparing, and driving. Oh, and relationships? What relationships? An organized home? No way. My home is starting to fill with travel books, travel brochures, camping and hiking gear, and clean clothes that I just haven’t had time to put away.
Is a wanderlust spirit something that you envy?